Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
I’m appalled at the lack of LIPA’s response to Hurricane Irene. I lost power at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28 and didn’t regain power until 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2. That’s six days without power!
What really aggravated me was the news broadcast I saw at 5 a.m. on August 28th, stating that emergency crews were coming in from Ohio and Pennsylvania, to be stationed at Republic Airport. Republic Airport is two streets and one highway across from me, yet I never saw one linesman come to fix the downed wire that affected four blocks of electricity, including my own.
What were they doing? They were in their “testosterone war room” at Republic Airport, sitting there with their legs crossed or chatting with each other. And we paid for this? Or will pay for this in the coming months? Ludicrous!
I called LIPA on Sunday when I awoke to no power. I was told that I would receive phone up-dates as to when my power would be back on and that an “assessment crew” has to come first to check on the downed wire. I never got an update phone call. I called two days later after the assessment crew showed up at my house. I drove around East Farmingdale and saw three LIPA trucks down on East Carman’s Road. I asked one of the men if they were coming to my street and his response was, “Lady, we get our orders in the morning. I don’t know if your street is on those orders.” Suffice it to say, they didn’t come to my street.
Another two days and I called LIPA again. “Where are you?” I was told that given the severity of the wires that were down, a bucket was required for the repair. I then asked, “So, you mean to tell me that LIPA has only one bucket truck?” She didn’t answer with yes or no. Talk about frustrating.
In the Observer’s issue of Sept. 30, there was an article State Senate Hearing Calls Out LIPA’s ‘Failure’ After Irene, it said, “He [LIPA COO Michael Hervey] continued saying that Irene was the island’s worse storm since Gloria in 1985 and that 10,000 trees were damaged, causing 523,000 electric outages – about 48 percent of LIPA’s customers. 6,000 locations were in need of repair, he said, adding that LIPA made more than 800,000 outbound calls to try to communicate with customers. ‘While LIPA’s plan and capabilities are not unlike most other electric utilities, we will look to improve…’ He said the overall effort was ‘quite impressive.’” For whom?
The article also stated, “The men representing LIPA and Grid said that they only know of a power outage when it is reported.” Oh really? I reported the downed wire two hours after it went down and waited six days for it to be fixed!
Regarding the statement: “Marcellino and others pointed out that LIPA’s call center and website did not work. It was hard for residents to get through to anyone to report outages; there was ineffective handling of these reports at LIPA and LIPA’s site was not correct about which communities were restored or not.” I had no problem talking to someone at LIPA; I always got a live person. But I do agree that there was ineffective handling of my report. Others would pull up LIPA’s website to help me figure out when LIPA would restore my power. Apparently that wasn’t working either, because every other day my area shifted from one color to another or disappeared altogether.
Instead of spending money to bring in linesmen from other states, why not take that money and start putting our power lines underground? My brother lives in Colorado and their power lines are underground. In the long run that would save consumers billions instead of LIPA squandering it on bringing in crews that never show up anyway. Maybe LIPA really only has one bucket truck!
After numerous calls to LIPA and getting nowhere, I decided to call Senator Charles Fuschillo. Within four hours of calling him, my power was back on! Interesting isn’t it? I called LIPA four to five times and no one fixed the wire. I call the Senator once and it’s fixed.
Here’s a solution for the next hurricane that downs our wires and turns off our electric. Crews should do the critical care customers in each town first, no if, ands, or buts about that. Then they should start in one town and finish it before moving to another.
I mean, when everyone around you has power and you don’t, you have to wonder who runs LIPA’s crews and makes the decision of where those crews go. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out to finish one area before moving to the next. But no, LIPA hopped around East Farmingdale like a ball bouncing willy-nilly all over the place. Pathetic, truly pathetic.
Cheryl Longo, East Farmingdale resident